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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Marco Armienta is Director of Customer Experience at Valant, a healthcare technology company based out of Seattle. Originally from California, Marco started his career in customer care almost 10 years ago at Yahoo’s European headquarters in Dublin. He went from French technical support to managing a team to leading global training projects. He then moved to Valant, where he helps transform the practices of customer-facing teams in his current role. Marco holds a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of London, an MA in Educational Technology from Boise State University and is currently working on his MBA from Boise State University.
Interviewed by Uma Mageshwari
/ / How has the contact center function evolved in your company over the past few years?
We are in a transformative journey that started with a small team answering phone calls and emails from customers. In the last four years, we have implemented a new help site, quality assurance programs, new contact center tools, customer feedback loops and customer-centric KPIs. Most importantly, we have chosen a strategy that focuses on customer satisfaction and dumped many of the traditional contact center practices that focus on speed and volume, both of which result in low spending but also lead to low customer satisfaction.
/ / What challenges do you face while planning your contact center strategy?
Many contact centers need to find the right balance between expenses and ROI, especially those like ours, which focus on helping the customer rather than upselling. Our support specialists are hired to help customers, not to sell.
/ / What are the key metrics you track to gauge the performance of your contact center?
We currently focus on 50 metrics that span from global volume to individual productivity, but our bread and butter will always be quality assurance and Voice of the Customer (VoC). We record 100% of our calls and we also allow customers to provide feedback after every interaction.
/ / What is the scope of cloud customer support in this industry?
Some contact centers migrated completely to the cloud more than 10 years ago, while others use hybrid technology, processes and data repositories. We took the leap into the cloud in April 2018 when we procured a new contact center phone solution, replaced our hardware with softphones and then migrated all our data and documentation to the cloud.
/ / Have you implemented an omnichannel approach in your contact center yet? What are the key areas you need to focus on while implementing an omnichannel approach?
We have been evaluating an omnichannel-tool approach for the last year-and-a-half. While it would make the life of our employees easier, you must keep in mind that you are putting all your eggs in the same basket. This means that replacing one tool could require a major overhaul.
The hidden reason why most companies are choosing the omnichannel route is to save money since you get to package all the tools in one discounted price model. As we continue our evaluation, we are carefully considering our options.
/ / Has AI been introduced in your contact center?
We have not introduced AI yet. Considering our size, we can still have an individualized approach to evaluating performance. Our ratio of the number of support agents per quality assurance specialist is very good and our volume of customer interactions is still under 100,000 per year. I see AI being introduced in our quality assurance program in the next two years.
/ / Which platform does your contact center currently function on? Why did you choose that platform?
Our main platforms are Salesforce and InContact. Salesforce is the same platform used by our sales and customer success teams. It makes sense to keep customer information in one single platform across departments.
InContact is a phone system designed for contact centers that allows us to scale up at our own pace and fully control the backend without the need to engage with a vendor to make changes to the system configuration.
/ / What are the most effective ways in which your contact center captures customer feedback?
I am a believer in surveying every interaction with our customers, whether it is a phone call, an email or a training session. In that sense, we are not so different from other companies who send email surveys. However, we also provide our customers the option to share feedback at any time because our feedback channel is always open to them in the form of an online survey that does not require a ticket number or tracker.
/ / What are the pain points with respect to delivery in your contact center?
We serve a customer base whose phone calls are not spread around the clock but concentrated at very specific times throughout the day. More than half of our users are healthcare providers who see patients, and for that reason, they tend to call in between their appointments, in other words, at the top of the hour. We find ourselves with many short rush hours during the day.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive the contact center industry in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
In the long term, contact centers will disappear to give way to fully automated self-service tools. While some companies are already at that stage, they still offer poor customer experiences. Rather than investing in AI for the contact center, many companies are investing in AI to enable users to become self-sufficient. The customer service function will probably evolve into a consultant role for engineering and product teams, who need to consider all the self-service solutions when they design their products.
Designing your contact center around your most valued asset – your customer
Anthony Daubenmerkl, Vice President of Global Support & Client Success, Thycotic
Delighting customers or meeting expectations: The role of contact centers
Customer contact centers are now playing increasingly larger roles in B2B environments.
Preparing for the call center of the future
David Donatelli, Senior Vice President of Global Customer Support, Fuze
Customer support on a global scale in the financial services industry
Jessica Lovell, Director of Global Customer Support, Morningstar
Why customer satisfaction is serious business
Scott Gilbert, Senior Director of Global Customer Support, Qumu Corporation
Customer service: An untapped gold mine of VoC insights
Brett Frazer, Head of Customer Service, Sun Basket